Orange County law enforcement officials Friday announced that 56 suspects were snared in a human trafficking sweep this month.

The effort led to 16 victims, including two children younger than 16, getting help from authorities in Operation Red Zone.

The Orange County District’s Attorney’s Office worked with Homeland Security and 11 local law enforcement agencies in the sweep, which was conducted from Feb. 9-12.

“We sent a message loud and clear that human trafficking will be met with swift action in Orange County,” Sheriff Don Barnes said in a statement. “Through inter-department collaboration we deployed substantial investigative resources across the county and were able to make a significant number of arrests. Most importantly two young victims have been brought to safety and resources were offered to other victims.”

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said the sweep puts human traffickers on notice.

“Human traffickers know that if they come to Orange County, we are going to find them, we are going to arrest them, and we are going to prosecute them,” Spitzer said. “Proactive investigations like this allow law enforcement agencies to contact vulnerable victims of sex trafficking who might have otherwise never been able to escape their traffickers and receive valuable victim services that can help them heal and every arrest we make and every case we file serves as a message to human traffickers everywhere — don’t come to Orange County.”

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